The Swiss government has confirmed that the limitations on immigration which are currently in place for nationals from the European Union member states, Romania and Bulgaria will be lifted as of 1st June 2016. Croatian nationals will, however, remain subject to immigration limitations.
This means that from 1st June 2016 Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will be treated the same as other EU nationals in terms of easy access to the Swiss labour market. No prior work permit approval is required for EU nationals to work in Switzerland with a Swiss local employment contract. As with other EU nationals, all that is required prior to starting work is a simple registration at the local residents office of the municipality of residence.
According to the “safeguard clause” in the the agreement on free movement of persons with the EU, until May 2019 the Swiss government is entitled to impose quotas in the event of immigration from Bulgaria and Romania surpassing 10% or more the median of the previous three years. Such a decision can be made between 1st June 2017 and 1st June 2018. So far the population of Bulgarian or Romanian nationals is relatively small in Switzerland, accounting for only 0.9% of the permanent residing population at the end of 2015. This was below the quota for 2015.
We advise employers in Switzerland to take into account the forthcoming lifting of immigration restrictions, and from 1st June, they will be able to employ Bulgarian and Romanian nationals in the same way as any other EU national. If you have any questions about how this may affect your company or employees, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.